Northern Ireland

Adams criticises 'negative' approach to Haass proposals

Gerry Adams Image copyright AP
Image caption Gerry Adams said progress on the Haass proposals would 'send out a message of hope'

Northern Ireland's political process is being threatened by the British government's "negative" position that backs "reactionary unionism", Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has said.

Mr Adams said problems not resolved by the talks chaired by US diplomat Richard Haass should not be set aside until after the May elections.

He was speaking as Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers and Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore discussed developments in Dublin.

Mr Gilmore said they were agreed "that the early successful conclusion of the political talks represents the best opportunity to make progress across all three important areas of parades, flag and identity issues and dealing with the past".

"Both governments will actively support the talks in the interests of an early agreement being reached," he said.

"Maintaining the status quo in relation to these issues is not a feasible or satisfactory option for any constituency."

Mr Adams said agreement on the Haass proposals in advance of the European and council elections "would send out a powerful and positive message of hope".

"However, to achieve this will require the British government taking up a clear position in support of the Haass proposals," he said.

Mr Adams criticised unionist politicians, singling out Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt whom he claimed was "posturing with the no-men on the extremes of unionism".

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